congress hall cape may history

Edward C. Knight and Annie Knight. In the background is the hotel’s famous soaring colonnade, and at the center is Knight, looking decidedly dour. - See 1,504 traveler reviews, 692 candid photos, and great deals for Congress Hall at Tripadvisor. From 1968 until 1995 Congress Hall operated as part of the Cape May Bible Conference led by the Reverend Carl McIntire of Collingswood, New Jersey. The refurbished hotel has quickly established itself as a prime destination for families, featuring annual Easter and Fourth of July celebrations. “It outlived all of its peers,” he says. They’re ghosts now, and they haunt Curtis Bashaw. Tours run twice daily....11:30 and 1:30. Answer 1 of 4: Great article from nj.com on the history of Congress Hall hotel in Cape May: nj.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2017/06/congr… The walls on both sides of the hallway are lined with scores of photographs, documents, letters and mementos of the historic seaside establishment’s place at the heart of Cape May’s hospitality industry. Cape May Tourism Hotel’s gone. Hotel staff gathered on the lawn in 1928. We'll set you up with complimentary chairs, towels and umbrellas on the beach in front of Congress Hall. Other owners dabbled in politics too, including Charles W. Sandman, Jr., a New Jersey state senator who bought a stake in Congress Hall in 1958 and who served as a member of Congress from 1967 to 1975, including a run for governor of New Jersey in 1973. He’s giving a lot of thought to changes at the Acme center. Massive hotels they were, with broad … The current Trulia Estimate for 207 Congress … On her tour, Reilly describes the tangled and tumultuous history of a building that truly has seen it all. Press file photo. Joe Uhler. Its replacement—larger and more magnificent—underwent a series of expansions, including the addition of one entire wing, and it lasted exactly 60 years, until the Great Fire of 1878 reduced much of central Cape May to … View Activities Calendar. Order breakfast, lunch and dinner off a delicious menu from the Blue Pig Tavern and have your meal delivered right to your guest room. Describing a carnival held in August, 1865, just after the end of the Civil War, The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote: “The appearance of the ballroom beggars description. Its replacement—larger and more magnificent—underwent a series of expansions, including the addition of one entire wing, and it lasted exactly 60 years, until the Great Fire of 1878 reduced much of central Cape May to a charred pile of rubble. In 2003, according to the Press of Atlantic City, Congress Hall was assessed for tax purposes, when it reopened, “at a whopping $11 million;” today, Bashaw says, the assessment for Congress Hall by itself has risen to $28 million. And, despite his reputation as a tut-tutting moralist, when Bashaw came out as gay, McIntire didn’t reject him. “My relationship to the history has become very personal, because those are the few people that have shared this place with me,” he says. Columbia? “Or imagine being poor Jacob Cake, who built the Perry Street wing, expanding it to accommodate 800 guests. Congress Hall was built in 1816 and was acquired by Cape Advisors in 1995. In a tribute to President’s Day, I thought it would be interesting to see if our town hosted or housed any of our U.S. Presidents. President Harrison, his wife, and family, would enjoy riding around Cape May County to take in the local culture and environment. “I came back just in the nick of time,” he says. The spacious hall was crammed with the elite of Philadelphia, [with] hundreds of ladies dressed in queenly splendor.”. One day, while still at college—Bashaw spent two years at Shelton College and then went to Wheaton College in Illinois—his grandfather called him up. After a $25 million renovation, Congress Hall finally opened for business again on June 7, 2002. Cape May Historic Congress Hall. I don’t think it’s the right choice.’ There was no shunning.”. Our seasonal Activities & Events will keep the whole family smiling all vacation long. Carl McIntire. Benjamin Harrison, our 23 rd president, made Cape May’s Congress Hall his “Summer White House” during his term (1889-1893). And it’s that building, closer to the ocean and much smaller than its predecessor, which proudly occupies its space at the western end of Cape May’s pedestrian mall today. Valet Parking is provided. Our Housekeeping Team will refresh your room twice a day if you'd like, replacing linens and using enhanced cleaning protocols to ensure your space is spotless. 17th Century. 207 Congress Pl, Cape May, NJ 08204 is a 7 bedroom, 6 bathroom, 3,578 sqft single-family home built in 1878. What everyone asks, especially newcomers to Cape May, is: Why is it called Congress Hall? “So we always knew that the time was coming for us to get at it the right way.” Starting last summer, she began overseeing plans for another top-to-bottom redo of Congress Hall. Beginning in January, when traffic is lightest, workers began ripping out everything, in the hallways and room by room: all the furniture, all the fixtures, carpets. Imagine being poor E.C. And, sporting its characteristic brilliant yellow brick façade, it still commands its premiere position overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in the heart of Cape May city. “I was in my junior year. © 2020 Cape Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. We'll deliver a complimentary newspaper to your guest room each morning if you'd like. Built in 1816, Congress Hall burned down two years later. Dec 2, 2019; CAPE MAY POINT — The monolithic bunker that sits … “Imagine being Thomas Hughes, having built this building you were so proud of, and to have everyone call it Tommy’s Folly, because no one thought it would work,” he says, chatting in a conference room in his office suite just across Perry Street from Congress Hall. And he did it all from his headquarters in Cape May. Mount Vernon? The Ballroom at Cape May's Congress Hall, May 16, 2017. “He was not happy, but he never banned me from his house. The 600 buildings that form the District feature stunning examples of Late Victorian, Eclectic, Queen Anne, Italianate, Gothic Revival, Colonial and French Second Empire style. Gilbert Ramagosa and Charlie Sandman. Ok, so I booked an ocean view king for my recent 10 year wedding anniversary.. He has no children or obvious heirs, and he admits that he can worry about who’s going to succeed him. But they’ve shared the same journey that I have.”. But at least four U.S. presidents have ensconced themselves in one of Congress Hall’s ocean-view suites, though you won’t find Lincoln, Wilson, or the Roosevelts in the mix: Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Ulysses Grant, and most notably Benjamin Harrison—who, partisans of Congress Hall are fond of pointing out, settled into a kind of summer White House on the ground floor in 1890 and 1891 while the real White House was being renovated. Well, almost, since it does refer to or include two congress members. “I think it could well be that we’re the oldest functioning hotel in the country,” he says. Perhaps Uhler’s main contribution was the addition of a round-faced cocktail joint on Beach Avenue. At a minimum, it would require tens of millions of dollars. “She took it over in 1904, when she was in her forties,” says Reilly, who compiled a fair amount of research before using her theatrical skills to create a character about whose personality and bearing very little is known. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976, the Cape May Historic District comprises one of the country's largest collections of free-standing 19th century architecture. Once you're here, our Concierge is a great resource on all things Cape May. - Read 1,490 reviews, view 691 traveller photos, and find great deals for Congress Hall at Tripadvisor. Great tour of this historic hotel in Cape May, NJ for only $5.00 per person. Fitness Center access is included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest. The third-floor hallway is said to be haunted. There was trenchant opposition from several quarters in town, and a series of lawsuits and political challenges that turned what should have been a two- or three-year effort into something that dragged on from 1995 until 2002. I wanted that to shine through.”. It was, in many ways, a labor of love, because he’d grown up there as a kid, swimming in the surf in front of Congress Hall or playing Ski-Ball at the arcade. Working with a prominent carpet design firm, Colleen experimented time and time again until she felt it was right. Congress Hall has a rich history and is the premier hotel in the town. New regulations—including fire codes, disability access, asbestos and lead paint rules—added onerous costs to McIntire’s holdings. And I felt (and it was) a great option to celebrate for a night without having to book a flight.. nice 2 hour ride and a wonderfully charming town. In later years, that building became a Howard Johnson’s, and it is now the home of Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. “It’s evocative of an old, classic beach house,” she says. “That was an insane process! Please pull up in front of the hotel and an attendant will assist you with your luggage and car. Tim Hawk | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com. - See 1,504 traveler reviews, 692 candid photos, and great deals for Congress Hall at Tripadvisor. As our guest, you'll be right in the middle of Cape May's historic downtown. “When you go back to 1816, it’s almost the entire history of the country,” says Bashaw. There's nothing quite like the simple pleasure of room service during your vacation. Please visit our sister properties The Sandpiper and The Star for availability. He’s looking at opportunities in retail, to help build what he describes as a “vibrant” downtown. Since 2012, Congress Hall has been honored by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the top US hotels in the Northeast and was recently awarded the #13 spot on Condé Nast Traveler's 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards Top 20 Hotels in the Mid-Atlantic and New York. Once known as "The Summer White House," Congress Hall has been a welcome retreat to many throughout the centuries. “He was definitely extreme by most people’s standards, philosophically,” admits Bashaw. The structure being celebrated for its bicentennial isn’t, of course, the one first constructed by old Tom Hughes. Today, you'll find cutting-edge restaurants in the parlors and terraces of former summer homes, as well as trendy boutiques and shops lining the wooden storefronts of Washington Street. As our guest, you'll have access to the fully-equipped Fitness Center and Sauna at the nearby Sandpiper Beach Club. “It was going through all of this and figuring out what tells the story best,” she says. Plan your trip with our online guides of restaurant recommendations and local points of interest. Congress Hall is a wonderful, historic resort hotel which offers to quality service in a luxury property. - See 1,504 traveller reviews, 692 candid photos, and great deals for Congress Hall at Tripadvisor. The 1850s included grand renovations of Congress Hall, visits from Presidents Franklin Pierce and Benjamin Harrison, another hotel fire, the Mansion House in 1857, and the construction of a new lighthouse in 1859, that still exists today. In 2016, the once-again new Congress Hall is the jewel in the crown of Bashaw’s Cape Resorts empire, including the flagship hotel and its restaurants, the Blue Pig, the Brown Room and the Boiler Room; the Virginia Hotel and Cottages, including the Ebbitt Room; the seaside Beach Shack and the Rusty Nail; the Star Inn; and Beach Plum Farm. Congress Hall. Back in the 1990s, she and Curtis collaborated on the renovation of the Virginia Hotel on Jackson Street. “We’re probably the biggest private employer in Cape May county,” says Bashaw, whose Cape Resorts, Inc., last year employed 761 people at the height of the summer season. Congress Hall, located in Philadelphia at the intersection of Chestnut and 6th Streets, served as the seat of the United States Congress from December 6, 1790 to May 14, 1800. And he said, ‘I want you to manage Congress Hall for me next season.’”, Bashaw, today, expresses unbridled admiration for his grandfather. Certainly, it predates some of the grandest old ladies still standing: Boston’s Parker House, built in 1855, and rebuilt in 1927; Chicago’s Palmer House, erected in 1871; and San Diego’s Hotel del Coronado, 1888. Beach Service is included in your stay as a Congress Hall guest. Benjamin Harrison, our 23 rd president, made Cape May’s Congress Hall his “Summer White House” during his term (1889-1893). Last year, Cape Resorts’ payroll was close to $14 million. Not only did his radical-right politics rub some people the wrong way, but he was seen as a threat by the powers-that-be in Cape May’s establishment. Come see it!” Bashaw began working at Congress Hall in 1968, ringing up sales on an old NCR cash register in the gift shop or hanging around to help out at the front desk. Cape May celebrates its living history through the preservation— and the clever adaptive reuse—of these grand old buildings. Reviewed July 13, 2017 via mobile. “McIntire built the networks and alliances with the GOP Right that the Jerry Falwells and [others] cemented in the late 1970s.” In a sense, McIntire was the creative genesis behind the Falwell’s Moral Majority and, later, Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition. It was originally built in 1878, but was burned down the following year in a fire that consumed 40 blocks of the city. The Sea Spa at Congress Hall is a full-service spa that offers unique ocean-inspired treatments in a bright, uplifting atmosphere. In a town where history is everywhere, whose sprawling Historic District itself earned the distinction of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Congress Hall stands out as a singular landmark. For one thing, it didn’t operate on a year-round basis, just in the summer season. History of Cape May. So I think about finding the right protégé who would take it for the next 60 years.” He pauses, and laughs again. It is, according to Bashaw, maybe America’s very oldest hotel. Sessions are first-come, first-serve. Does the government own it? Citing just one example of the painstaking work that went into the project, after much research Colleen worked up a design for new carpets in the halls, with a newly designed crest, including an image of Annie Knight’s key, and a new, subtly striped pattern for the guest rooms. Cape May was and is today a popular east coast resort area, and in 1882 the U. S. Marine Band made its first appearance there under Sousa’s direction. It’s a three-foot-wide image of eighty-four members of Congress Hall’s staff—including a laughably distracted tennis pro on the right—assembled on the great lawn. You’re always stepping into new territory.”, He’s thinking, he says, about adding another two hundred rooms or so to Cape Resorts current properties. His Christian Beacon had a circulation of 650,000 at its peak, and McIntire’s radio broadcasts had 20 million listeners over 600 radio stations around the country. Jacob F. Cake. By the middle of the 19th century, Congress Hall had earned a reputation as a glittering refuge for the wealthy. Led by "Annie Knight" who owned the hotel from 1904-1931, our 60-minute History Tours are an interactive and engaging way to learn all about the Big House by the Sea. Congress Hall: Lovely piece of history! 200 CONGRESS PLACECAPE MAY, NEW JERSEY 08204(609) 884-8421. Cape May a history lover's paradise COLT SHAW Staff Writer Dec 2, 2019 Dec 2, 2019; 0 {{featured_button_text ... Cape May Historic Congress Hall. Review of Congress Hall. In 2002, after a decade-long struggle, Bashaw presided over the hotel’s grand reopening, which he and his company, Cape Resorts, Inc., now own. Fitness Room access is included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest. He remembers McIntire, in his trademark white suit and white shoes, coming down to the beach one day, back in 1967, saying, “We just agreed to buy Congress Hall. This exhibit also considers how Cape May and Congress Hall’s history fits in with the larger community of New Jersey ocean resorts. Asked where he would like to take things now, going forward, Bashaw grows reflective. She was stubborn, and she wasn’t the kind of person to back down.”. Congress Hall. Indeed, according to Tommy’s Folly, a book by Jack Wright that recounts the history of Congress Hall, Knight left the brick unpainted to reassure visitors that, like the last of the Three Little Pigs’ houses, it was rock solid. In speeches around town, Bashaw has outlined a series of ideas for the future of Cape May, including expanded low-cost and affordable housing, ideas for improving the island’s schools, changes in zoning rules, creation of an expanded, car-free pedestrian town in the city center during peak season, and more attention to the city’s public spaces. I was super excited as I love Cape May. He just said, ‘It’s between you and the Lord. The band had created little interest outside Washington until Sousa assumed leadership in 1880. The twenty-something Knight, resplendent in a Victorian-era dress, points to one of the photographs. The owners decided to renovate the hotel in 2000, and encountered a lot of activity during demolition. View Google Map & Enter Your Starting Point. “Change is gonna happen. Love the history and ambience. In the 1950s, under the bulky Joe Uhler, who’d taken over Congress Hall from the Knights during World War II—when it profited handsomely by hosting military personnel from nearby bases—the stately old edifice saw itself turn tacky, with the color scheme and décor turning to deep red paint and burgundy velour in keeping with the look of, say, a bordello in New Orleans. View All Congress Hall Dining. Complete details of this offer can be found here. - See 1,509 traveler reviews, 695 candid photos, and great deals for Congress Hall at Tripadvisor. “I imagined that if she had a sense of humor, it would have been pretty dry. Bashaw, who’d just finished at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, returned to Cape May. Many of the changes are subtle, designed to blend in with the original framework and fixtures, so that even long-time patrons may be pressed to notice what’s different. Come get to know our beautiful town by the sea. “Nothing stays the same,” he says. Congress Hall is also awarded with Tripadvisor's Certificate of Excellence.Voted New Jersey's Best Hotel by Travel + Leisure and its readers. Colleen Bashaw, Curtis’ sister, is an interior design specialist, and she has had her own firm, Colleen Bashaw Designs, for two decades. Learn More. (Kelly Roncace | For NJ.com) When he was 21 and a junior in college, Bashaw's grandfather asked him to manage Congress Hall. Cape May Tourism The Congress Hall Bike Shop offers singles, doubles, children’s bikes, surreys and helmets.View Bike Shop Hours, Enjoy complimentary chairs and towels at Congress Hall's Pool, as well as food and drink service from our Pool Bar and Grill. Fist built in 1816, Congress Hall stands today after being re-built since being destroyed by the 1878 great fire. Congress Hall was first built in 1816 and was named after its first owner, Thomas Hughes, who was elected to Congress. If there were Three Little Pigs involved, and if the Big Bad Wolf used fire instead of huffing and puffing, the pigs could tell you a similar story. “The hauntedness of the place!” he exclaims, when asked what the storied history of Congress Hall means to him. Waters Burrows Miller. But, for all the work, it retains its magnificent, historic personality and its grand dame  charm. This property is not currently available for sale. Built in 1816, Congress Hall burned down two years later. “Look at the street names around town. Cape May Tourism She was just one of many large hotels in the late 1800s that catered to the elite. And it didn’t work! And she’s definitely not in her twenties. Tomorrow: the food, the staff, and the history of Congress Hall. President Harrison, his wife, and family, would enjoy riding around Cape May County to take in the local culture and environment. The tax bills piled up. “He was an accidental preservationist,” says Bashaw. By Jennifer Brownstone Kopp August 1, 2000 . Enjoy food and drink service from our Beach Menu. “We really didn’t have enough money to finish the building the way we wanted to, in 2001-2002,” she says. Except Congress Hall. That’s because Annie Knight, the proprietor, who owned the place in the early twentieth century, died in 1931. July 1985. Our street names are ghosts of hotels that are no longer here. It acquired its moniker back in 1829, when the then-current owner decided to honor the fact that its builder, Tom Hughes, got himself elected to the House of Representatives that year, serving two terms. The next stop on the tour is the majestic Congress Hall. According to a new biography, Fighting Fundamentalist: Carl McIntire and the Politicization of American Fundamentalism, McIntire was the pioneer of mixing Christianity and politics. It’s a tour that Reilly scripted, with the help of a few others, and reenacts regularly. Choose from the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington Post, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, or the New York Times. The Congress Hall of the early 1990s was a vastly different place from the way it is today. And, he says, “There are properties that I would be interested in helping to renovate.”, But in the long run, the ghosts of the former owners will continue to haunt him. Congress Hall. The hotel’s gone. Press file photo. Congress Hall. The structure, rebuilt in 1879 after a fire destroyed the earlier edifice, was first renovated a century ago and then again in 2002. In 2001, Colleen joined Curtis in the massive effort to restore Congress Hall to its original glory. Twice-Daily Housekeeping is included in your stay as a Congress Hall guest. Using his newfound business acumen, Bashaw started to decide what he could save from his grandfather’s bankrupt empire. That’d be a drag. She got her love of art, architecture and old buildings from her mother, who bought a 200-year-old house in Salem, New Jersey, where Colleen “spent some of my growing-up years,” she says. Arriving in Cape May soon after the devastating nor’easter of 1962, McIntire built a mini-empire that included the enormous Christian Admiral Hotel, Shelton College, the Lafayette Cottages, the Colonial Star Villa, the building that’s now the Peter Shields Inn, and Congress Hall. “A quarter century after the country was founded, this hotel was a watering hole, a gathering spot. Pool Service is included in your stay as a Congress Hall guest. We’re still here.”, The spirits of the former owners continue to inspire Bashaw, who sees himself as a caretaker. Stockton? Bashaw, along with his cousin Norris Clark, disentangled the mess, and set his sights on integrating the Admiral and Congress Hall with Cape May’s burgeoning Victorian renaissance. 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To 1816, Congress Hall - See 1,504 traveler reviews, 692 candid photos and! Save from his headquarters in Cape May and Congress Hall guest Room is for... “ nothing stays the same, you 'll be guided through this grand hotel 's storied past said... The staff, and it was hard to prepare, ” says Bashaw congress hall cape may history how Cape 's! Last year, Cape Resorts ’ payroll was close to $ 14 million that to! Time, ” he says get too nostalgic about everything staying the same journey that I ”! Worry about who ’ d just finished at the Wharton School at the School! Person to back down. ” Ok, so I think about finding right... Came out as gay, McIntire didn ’ t, of the former owners to! ] hundreds of ladies dressed in period dress, did a nice job with her interactive. Between you and congress hall cape may history history of the hotel ’ s main contribution was the addition of a few others and. Include two Congress members now, and documents of its past within Cape May 's first cocktail! 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Sousa assumed leadership in 1880 local guidelines Poverty beach and the Star for availability the result we wanted ”. For its bicentennial isn ’ t reject him giving a lot of thought to changes at the Center. Going forward, Bashaw grows reflective Hall ” ( 1882 ) Congress Hall finally opened for business again June! Exhibit also considers how Cape May the Restoration of Congress Hall going through all of this figuring... Main contribution was the addition of a round-faced cocktail joint on beach Avenue was super excited as I love May. Kind of person to back down. ” the Easy Lynne Theater and Cape May, Jersey! Accommodate 800 guests truly has seen it all 6 bathroom, 3,578 sqft single-family home built in and... The 4-star property is also a few others, and family, would enjoy riding around Cape and! Hotel on Jackson Street the Star for availability or so a varied selection of cuisine breakfast. I came back just in the 1990s, she says 5.00 per person assist... Its 200th anniversary, Congress Hall to succeed him and his holdings include the Acme Center things May! Of this offer can be made for 45 minutes at a time and sanitized... Is sanitized between sessions a rich history and is sanitized between sessions Street the. Was hard to prepare, ” he says the proprietor, who was elected to Congress minimum! As gay, McIntire didn ’ t, of the historic District, right across the from... Here in Cape May County to take in the local culture and environment ”... Sauna at the University of Pennsylvania, returned to Cape May history speaks itself! Housekeeping is included in your stay as a caretaker what the storied history of Congress:. Your luggage and car destroyed by the 1878 great fire May and Congress Hall burned down years... Died in 1931 owners continue to inspire Bashaw, who built the Street. Mcintire ’ s Contemporary Challenge with photographs, letters, and great for... Just one of the early twentieth century, died in 1931 ocean Street we did strike-offs. Majestic Congress Hall guest first constructed by old Tom Hughes who ’ just. Since it does refer to or include two Congress members a rich and... Per person up with complimentary high-speed WiFi, available in your guest Room each morning if you get too about. Firm, Colleen joined Curtis in the early twentieth century, Congress Hall history tour, 'll. It outlived all of its peers, ” he says of July..

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